It happened again.
Another mother reported to me that her 8th grade son "absolutely hates school." He stayed home today and is falling further behind. What's the issue this time? The short answer is he has to create a brochure about himself for a class assignment.
Sounds creative. Uses technology, and we certainly want to see that! Teacher probably wants to better understand their students...
Yes, but for this student, it is a nightmare assignment because it is a one size fits all approach for the students in the classroom and he doesn't know where to begin.
How many times have we discussed differentiation or universal design for learning? I'm not sure what the learning outcome is for this assignment, but what are some other ways that the end product could be accomplished?
Here are some ideas that offer choices, that can tap into the student's strengths instead of reinforce his learning challenges:
1. Create a brochure using software of your choice. (OK, we can keep this one, maybe there are some students who love to create brochures using Publisher, or Word or something similar.)
2. Digital storytelling - tell the story of your life using any tool that works best for you - Voice Thread, iPhoto, iMovie, Slideshare, PhotoStory 3, PowerPoint, etc. Combine audio, visual, and text in ways that enhance the audience's understanding of your story.
3. Create a podcast - Interview family members about how your life impacts them, how your parents' lives changed; record your own story. (possibilities are endless.)
4. As a class, think of some alternative ways to share life stories. (Some students may prefer to create a poster, others may want to create a cereal box, some may come up with totally different ideas.)
Whatever you do, offer MULTIPLE MEANS OF EXPRESSION!! One size doesn't fit all. And that is certainly true in our classrooms.
Thoughts? Other suggestions?